Ahead of Diwali this year, like every year, brands are all set to market their products of 'selling happiness in a bundle'. However, apart from the marketing pattern of brands, the act of banishing “controversial” ads and boycotting brands seems to have become a part of that routine.
The latest to fall victim to the pattern of “hurt sentiments” is Fabindia, after they released an ad featuring their new collection, titled, ‘Jashn-E-Riwaaz’.
BJP Yuva Morcha president Tejasvi Surya criticised the Fabindia ad and said in a tweet that the apparel brand, “must face economic costs for such deliberate misadventures”. Surya has riled up controversies previously, during the second COVID wave with the BBMP bed scam controversy and has often made ‘objectionable comments’.
Surya also said, “Deepavali is not Jash-e-Riwaaz. This deliberate attempt of abrahamisation of Hindu festivals, depicting models without traditional Hindu attires, must be called out.”
Deepavali is not Jash-e-Riwaaz.
This deliberate attempt of abrahamisation of Hindu festivals, depicting models without traditional Hindu attires, must be called out.
And brands like @FabindiaNews must face economic costs for such deliberate misadventures. https://t.co/uCmEBpGqsc
— Tejasvi Surya (@Tejasvi_Surya) October 18, 2021
— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) October 18, 2021
‘Beyond Ridiculous’: Netizens Speak Up in Support of Fabindia
Even as #BoycottFabIndia began to trend on Twitter, some netizens, however, came out in favour of Fabindia, claiming the boycott to be "beyond ridiculous".
Boycott Fabindia is trending because they’ve poetically named their Diwali collection - Jashn-e-Riwaaz. This is beyond ridiculous. How does naming a collection in Urdu lessen your Diwali for you?
— shunali khullar shroff (@shunalishroff) October 18, 2021
FabIndia, that sells one of the best Indian attires in the country, is getting cancelled because it named one of its collections as "Jashn E Riwaz"!
— Nikhil Rampal (@NikhilRampal1) October 18, 2021
Petrol prices rising, Chinese encroaching into our territory, unrest among farmers, civilians being killed in J&K but let's first attack Fab India. https://t.co/2C59ykKJuY
— Radhika Santhanam (@radhikasan) October 18, 2021
an elected MP @Tejasvi_Surya is openly threatening a brand with cost... for something he doesn't understand as Hindu attire. Does manusmriti recommend a particular Hindu attire for Deepawali? https://t.co/WD8RiuIcy9
— @SreeArayan (@SreeArayan) October 18, 2021
Other Similar Campaigns Against Brands
Over recent years, India has been witness to a rise in such calls for boycott of brands.
Last month, on 18 September, the bridal wear brand Manyavar Mohey released a commercial featuring Alia Bhatt, which received mixed reactions from netizens. Ranging from accusations of ‘anti-Hindu’ sentiment to others applauding the ad’s ‘progressive message’.
Last year, on 12 October, Twitter was flooded with #BoycottTanishq tweets. The trolls were targeting the jewellery brand for a particular advertisement that showed an interfaith marriage and a godh-bharai (baby shower) ceremony.
Those trolling Tanishq claimed that the ad promoted 'love jihad'. Soon after the social media storm, Tanishq took down the video from all its social media platforms.
In 2019, HUL's Surf Excel was similarly targeted for a Holi ad that promoted Hindu-Muslim harmony. The backlash was quite similar — #BoycottSurfExcel, cancelled Surf Excel orders, accusations that the ad promoted 'love jihad' and showed the Hindu festival in a negative light went around.
While #BoycottFabIndia is trending on Twitter, the apparel brand has removed its tweet in the face of criticism.
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